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Executive Suite: Johan Apel

Johan Apel, chief executive of ChyronHego Corp., of

Johan Apel, chief executive of ChyronHego Corp., of Melville. Credit: ChyronHego Corp.

Since taking over as ChyronHego's CEO on Jan. 1, Johan Apel has been tweaking the picture at the broadcast graphics and data visualization pioneer. In that time, ChyronHego has acquired or taken a majority stake in two companies, and the company's share price has risen more than 25 percent.

Apel, 41, joined the Melville company in May 2013 when Chyron -- whose name is synonymous with broadcast graphics generators used in news and sports -- acquired Hego AB, a Swedish company where he was chief executive.

After a stint as president and chief operating officer of the combined company, Apel took the reins of ChyronHego with the retirement Dec. 31 of CEO Michael Wellesley-Wesley. Apel talked about ChyronHego's future.

How does your business break down geographically?

More or less half our revenues are U.S.-based and half are the rest of the globe.

What's your position in emerging markets?

We have a really good team in Latin America. Our business down there is growing fine. We're not that strong in Asia yet. That's a big opportunity for us. We're trying to expand in India as well, a huge developing market that we hope to penetrate in the next one to three years.

How do your product lines break down?

The traditional Chyron products are more or less half of our business and the other half is more related toward sports -- sports technology and sports data. Bringing sports technology from the Hego side to the U.S. sports broadcast market is a huge opportunity for us. The traditional Chyron side has been strong within sports in the U.S. as well. Over 90 percent of the remote production trucks in the U.S. have a Chyron installed.

Who are some of your marquee clients?

There aren't too many big brands we aren't working with -- ESPN, Fox Sports, NBC, ABC, CBS. We have a fantastic client base. MLB, NFL Network. In Europe, English Premier League is our client.

Your TRACAB System uses optics to follow the position and speed of players and balls on soccer, baseball and football fields. What's the next frontier?

We're taking our sports player tracking technology into basketball. One of the overall targets is to work with all the major sports in the U.S.

In April, you took a majority stake in the Norwegian company Zxy Sport Tracking, which attaches transponders to each player. What's the game plan?

The player tracking system that we have is optics-based, meaning that we put cameras in the arena and have algorithms analyzing those video streams and extracting the data. For some sports, it makes more sense to put a transponder on the player. Now we have both technology types.

Who uses this data? Leagues? Teams? Broadcasters?

All of the above. We work with teams, supplying them with data for sports analysis and development. It goes into digital applications like second screens and websites. It's used by leagues for referee evaluations.


CORPORATE SNAPSHOT

NAME: Johan Apel, chief executive ChyronHego.

WHAT IT DOES: ChyronHego's hardware and software is used in graphics and data visualization for broadcast and online news and sports productions.

EMPLOYEES: 220 employees, including 70 in Melville.

REVENUE: $47.4 million in fiscal 2013 ended Dec. 31, 2013.

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